To the editor:
Regarding the Thursday, April 5, story headlined, "Man dies in fall from window," I would like to tell about my experience with Hunt Nursing and Rehab in Danvers.
Let me start by saying that I feel the tragedy at Hunt could have been avoided if the windows, especially the bedroom windows, did not open wide enough for an adult to fall through. This is a tragedy that many of us need to be aware of while looking for a long- or even short-term nursing or rehabilitation setting. It was never something I ever thought about.
My mother had a fall in January that resulted in a broken hip, and after two weeks in the hospital was being transferred to a rehabilitation facility. I was given less than a day's notice and was given a short list of facilities to choose from; my list was limited due to medical conditions that needed attention.
Anyone in what is called the "sandwich generation" may one day have to face the same decisions I did. Never having to face this decision before, I chose Hunt because it was the closest to our home and the only one I had really ever known someone to be in.
Mom was admitted on a Saturday night, and the staffing was lean. Mom at this time was not as coherent as we would have liked, but the staff assured us they would keep a close eye on her and that she would be fine.
On the Tuesday after her admission, I spent the day with her so that I could observe the staff and her physical therapy. Physical therapy came in the morning to work with her and she was not up to it, so they said they would come back, but never did.
During the course of the day, I was becoming more and more agitated at the lack of attention that was being given her. A social worker came to speak with me and suggested I call Elder Services and asked if I could take my mother home. At this point, I began to cry.
Within an hour, I was in a meeting with Peter Roberts, the administrator and the doctor (whom I had never met), along with the director of nursing, director of social services and the nursing supervisor for the floor Mom was on.
During the meeting, a few of those attending tried to turn the tables on me to make it look like I was exaggerating. I found that the reason the staff ignored her most of that day was it is their practice to not check on residents when they had family visiting.
I asked if we could find another facility for her and I was told by the director of social services that the feeling was mutual because they found me intimidating. I was being vigilant and my mother's advocate; of course I am going to want the best care for her.
At the end of the meeting, I was asked by the administrator to list my concerns, and I did. He met Mom and set some orders in place. The orders were brushed off, and I was even told by the nursing supervisor that they were not necessary.
So the quest began for another facility offering both short- and long-term care because we didn't know at that time which she would need. This time, along with other family members, I visited and toured Cedar Glen, also in Danvers, and found it impressive and likely a good fit for Mom.
She was again admitted in the evening, but this time the staff was very attentive to her and we felt good when we said good night.
At Hunt, the physical therapists could barely get Mom to sit on the edge of the bed. The day after she was admitted to Cedar Glen, the physical therapists were able to get my mother out of bed for the first time since her accident. In the process, they found she had a bedsore that had gone undetected at Hunt. They also found another medical condition, also not diagnosed, that was hindering her rehabilitation.
Needless to say, I was pleased with their level of care and glad we'd decided to move her. After a long road with many hills and valleys, she is close to coming home.
I cannot say enough about the entire staff at Cedar Glen. My only advice to anyone having to face these decisions is to be vigilant and advocate for your loved ones.